Hundreds of people protest acquittal of St. Louis officer in killing of black driver

A judge has acquitted a white police officer in the shooting death of a black driver, sparking angry protests in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.
By Tracy Williams | Oct 10, 2017
Hundred of protesters demonstrated in the St. Louis, Missouri, area after a judge acquitted a former police officer, who is white, of murder for shooting and killing a black driver following a car chase.

Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer, was charged with the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. He was recorded telling another officer to drive into Smith's car and saying he was "going to kill this motherf, don't you know it," according to a report by The Washington Post.

Stockley then approached Smith's car window and fired his gun five times into the vehicle, killing him. According to prosecutors, Stockley also planted a gun in Smith's car, as forensic tests showed only Stockley's DNA on the gun.

Judge Timothy Wilson, who decided the case in a bench trial without a jury, wrote that he was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley "did not act in self-defense."

Missouri's Republican Gov. Eric Greitens anticipated potential unrest as the verdict loomed and on Thursday put the state's National Guard on standby.

As of Friday evening, thirteen people had been arrested during post-verdict demonstrations, according to local officials. Four officers suffered minor injuries.

"We know this verdict causes pain for many people," said Greitens in a statement, as reported by the Post. "We have been in touch with city and county officials, and the state of Missouri will continue to assist them. I'm committed to protecting everyone's constitutional right to protest peacefully, while also protecting people's lives, homes, and communities. For anyone who protests, please do so peacefully."


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